May 5, 2014

The Horses in My Life

by Monty Roberts

Monty Roberts is known in the horse world for developing training methods that open trust and communication with a horse from the very beginning, instead of brutally forcing them into submission. I read his earlier book, The Man Who Listens to Horses a number of years ago, longer than I had thought because I can't find a post about it. Must have read it before I started blogging! His first book is about his methods and I remember being surprised at what it revealed about horse training. This book spotlights numerous horses he has worked with throughout his lifetime, including lessons he learned from each horse. Such as to give the animal a chance, to judge a horse by its conformation and ability not just breeding, to find another discipline a horse can excel at when it doesn't work out (for racing). He talks about the first few horses he rode as a child, how he got involved in work with racehorses, how he met the Queen of England and trained some horses for her, and how he kept his methods secret for decades because when he told other horsemen about it early on they mocked and disbelieved him. I remember the first book being mainly about horses used in cattle work and solving problems with horses owners brought to his training and remedial clinics; this book has a lot about his work with horses in the racing world. I admit I was a bit disappointed with the book. It was interesting at first but the more I read the briefer the stories got, with more about names and numbers (how much this racehorse cost, how much it earned or sold for, how much it won and so on) than the horses and their behavior. At least, that was my impression. The photos also left something to be desired. They are good quality for their time, but some were blown up into a double-page spread when obviously the original didn't have high enough resolution, and the result is all a blur. I don't see the point in that.

Found this one browsing at the public library. I was quite discouraged to find this article when I was looking for other blog posts about the book to link to. It's always disheartening to come across this kind of thing- I'd like to believe the author and take a book to heart, but don't know what to believe when it's one written word against another.

Rating: 3/5        248 pages, 2004

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